The AME Team has officially wrapped up the 2021 triathlon season and is headed into either running or the off-season. By this point in the year, this is the case for most triathletes. As such, it's necessary to define and weigh in on the importance of a solid transition.
A transition is a period in your training where your physical activity and exercise demands are greatly reduced. Transition periods may occur multiple times throughout the year and take place after key events. The length of each transition period varies based on when it is in the season and when your next race occurs. Ideally, you will have a brief transition period after each race you complete throughout the season, with a longer and more final transition period after the last event of the season.
At first, transition periods may either feel welcome or you may be chomping at the bit to get back into the routine. It's important to recognize these transition periods are necessary and crucial for your physical and mental recovery, especially after your biggest events of the season have taken place and you head into the off-season. Transition periods after your "A" races in the middle of the season are typically no longer than one to two weeks, whereas transition periods at the end of the season may be anywhere from 2-6 weeks long.
While your training load is greatly reduced during a transition period, it is also highly encouraged to do physical activity that is different from the typical swim, bike and run. This is a great time to go on walks, hikes, spend extra time being active with the family and even do other activities or hobbies you typically like to do but are not able to in periods of heavy training. During transition, we do not want to become totally inactive or find ourselves heading into unhealthy eating patterns, which can sometimes happen. The goal is to rest, recharge and reset while maintaining some semblance of activity.
For the longer transition at the end of the season, the first week of transition is typically a solid and true rest, with only rest days, recovery runs, walks, stretching or light yoga. The second through sixth weeks will typically have more activity but still be light. By the end of the transition, the goal is for you to feel well rested, ready and eager (mentally and physically) to dive back into the regular training rhythm. When you're not feeling that way, this typically happens for two reasons: 1) the transition period may have been too short or 2) you didn't take it as a true transition but did regular training and activity anyways. Not getting in this necessary transition may set you up for less success and greater risk for burnout heading into the next season.
Rest easy and take advantage of these light periods of time. Enjoy the extra time with family, take some extra naps, sleep in when you can. Continue to think ahead to your future short and long term goals, what races you would like to accomplish, what paces you would like to achieve and any other health and wellness goals you would like to work towards. Let's head into next training season refreshed, recovered and eager to accomplish more.